A NORTH-EAST MP last night renewed her appeals for Government cash to help secure the future of a mothballed shipyard.

The Cammell Laird yard, on the banks of the river Tees, at South Bank, Middlesbrough, has been silent since April when the company went into liquidation.

Southampton-based repair and conversion firm A&P Holdings bought Cammells for an undisclosed sum in August and has an option to reopen the Teesside operation, which employed more than 110 people.

Last night Redcar MP Vera Baird claimed the yard would only be viable if the Government answered a call for assistance.

A&P Holdings says Government subsidy is needed if the yard is to compete with other European countries.

She said: "On South Tees we appear to have entrepreneurhsip, capital, management and the labour skills to operate a profitable shipyard - yet we are not."

The MP was not optimistic about A&P's plans for the yard.

The company had promised a "shipcare project" next year - maintaining a depot where skilled workers would go out to repair vessels at sea.

Ms Baird said she hoped that would lead to the yard reopening fully in due course.

But she told the Commons: "That will not, it seems to me, be very soon."

A&P employs 2,500 staff and is already one of the UK's largest ship conversion and repair operators.

Ms Baird has asked the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to back an urgent investigation into the take-over of the whole business.